- Crown Jewels of Ireland
The Crown Jewels of Ireland were heavily jewelled insignia of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. They were worn by the sovereign at the installation of knights of that order, the Irish equivalent of the English Order of the Garter and the Scottish Order of the Thistle. Their theft from Dublin Castle in 1907 remains unsolved.
King George III instituted the Order of St Patrick in 1783. Among the insignia of a knight were a star and a badge; in the royal set of the insignia these were composed of rubies, emeralds and Brazilian diamonds.
In 1903, the jewels were transferred to a safe, which was to be placed in the newly constructed strongroom. The new safe was too large for the doorway to the strongroom, and Arthur Vicars, the Officer of Arms of Dublin Castle, instead stored the jewels in his office. Seven latch keys to the door of the Office of Arms were held by Vicars and his staff, and two keys to the safe containing the insignia were both in the custody of Vicars.
Vicars was known to regularly get drunk on overnight duty and he once awoke to find the jewels around his neck. It is not known whether or not this was a prank or a practice of the actual theft.
Vicars refused to resign his position, and similarly refused to appear at a Viceregal Commission into the theft (the commission did not possess powers to subpoena witnesses) held from 10 January 1908. Vicars argued for a public royal inquiry in lieu of the commission, and publicly accused his second in command, Francis Shackleton, of the theft. (Francis was the brother of the explorer Ernest Shackleton.) Shackleton was exonerated in the commission's report, and Vicars was found to have "not exercise[d] due vigilance or proper care as the custodian of the regalia." Arthur Vicars was shot dead by the IRA on 14 April 1921.
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
While the official authorities never solved the real mystery it was left to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to have a variant on the story solved by Great Britain's greatest detective. In 1908 Conan Doyle wrote The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans for The Strand Magazine. Changing the stolen item from the royal jewels to plans for a revolutionary submarine in the British Navy, the author has Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson set up a trap that catches the criminal, one "Col. Valentine Walters," who is the brother of a high-ranking, respected official. Walters is apparently based (in part) on Francis Shackleton, whose brother was a prominent public hero. Unlike the real life perpetrators of the theft of the Crown Jewels Walters goes to prison, but dies there shortly after his sentence begins.
The Patricius Enigma
A further fictional account of the theft of the jewels was published in 2010 by Sean Marshall entitled The Patricius Enigma. As a plot construct in the story the protagonists reveal not only who stole the jewels but also where they ended up.
- Viceregal Commission to investigate the circumstances of the loss of the regalia of the Order of Saint Patrick (1908) (PDF). Report. Command papers. Cd.3906. HMSO. http://eppi.dippam.ac.uk/pdf1/13111.pdf. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- ^ "Chapter 12: The Illustrious Order of the Knights of St. Patrick". Dublin Castle. http://www.dublincastle.ie/HistoryEducation/History/Chapter12TheIllustriousOrderofStPatrick/. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- Francis Bamford & Viola Bankes, Vicious Circle: The Case of The Missing Irish Crown Jewels (New York: Horizon Press, 1967), 212p., illus.
- Tim Coates (ed.), The Theft of the Irish Crown Jewels (Tim Coates, 2003) ISBN 978-1843810070
- Marshall, Sean. (2010). The Patricius Enigma. ISBN 978-1453804704.
- Detail on the events retrieved March 9, 2011
- A Centenary Report on the Theft of the Irish Crown Jewels in 1907 Sean J Murphy (25 January 2008)
Crowns:St Edward's Crown · Imperial State Crown · George IV State Diadem · Crown of Scotland · Crown of Mary of Modena · State Crown of George I · Coronet of Frederick, Prince of Wales · Coronation Crown of George IV · Crown of Queen Adelaide · Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria · Crown of Queen Alexandra · Coronet of George, Prince of Wales · Crown of Queen Mary · Crown of Queen Elizabeth · Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales Sceptres: Swords: Precious stones: Jewels by country: Other:Insignia of the Order of St Patrick · Sovereign's Orb See alsoThe Queen's Jewels · Imperial Crown of India Crown jewels by countryAustria · Brazil · Czech Republic · Denmark · France · Germany (Bavaria · Prussia) · Greece · Hungary · Holy Roman Empire · Iran · Ireland · Japan · Malaysia · Madagascar · Netherlands · Nigeria · Norway · Poland · Romania · Russia · Serbia · Spain · Sweden · Thailand · United Kingdom (Scotland · Wales)Former or historical sovereign states shown in italics
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